In Thailand, the Neta V five-seater hatchback with up to 384km travel range, was launched in September 2022 and priced at 549,000 baht (RM71,310).
Neta Auto Malaysia's website and Facebook page has an image depicting "Stay tuned, coming soon".
On its Facebook page, Neta Auto Malaysia shares the same address as Go Auto Group in Hicom Glenmarie Industrial Park,, Shah Alam.
Go Auto is a partner for Great Wall Motor Malaysia, which offers Haval SUVs (sport utility vehicles) and the all-electric Ora Good Cat.
Meanwhile, the Neta V outputs 95hp, with a maximum torque of 150Nm, and sprints from 0 to 50kph in less than 3.9 seconds.
Its 38.5 kWh lithium-ion battery offers up to 384km travel range per full charge according to NEDC standards, and features IP67 water and dust resistance, along with HEPT 3 battery temperature management system.
There's also an energy regenerative system, when the vehicle slows down or is braked.
Charging the car with alternating current (AC) via a Neta wall box will take eight hours (0% to 100%), while direct current (DC) charging via public stations takes about 30 minutes (from 30% to 80%).
Running on 185/55 R16 tyres, the Neta V is has a slightly smaller footprint (70mm, 40mm, 130mm shorter in length/width/wheelbase respectively, but 65mm higher) compared to the Toyota Yaris.
Its stylish exterior design and lines are said to be inspired by dolphins, and features include halogen projector headlamps with automatic on/off system, LED daytime running lights, and a sporty rear spoiler.
The Neta V's cabin has a minimalist design concept, and features include ergonomic zero gravity sports leather seats, a large 14.6-inch touch screen infotainment system, N95 air filtration system, foldable rear seats, and a smart key system with ride and go function.
Trunk capacity is 335 litres, and with the rear seats folded, this increases to 552 litres.
As for safety, features include front and rear disc brakes, two airbags, cruise control, a rearview camera with rear shift signal, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), hill start assist, hill descent control, electric parking brake, auto brake hold, tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS), and a light guide after engine is turned off.
The Neta EV brand is owned by little-known start-up Hozon New Energy Automobile, a nine-year-old Zhejiang-based EV maker known for its strategy of offering stripped-down electric SUVs priced below 100,000 yuan (RM64,412) for the under-served rural and small-town markets, according to a April 2022 report by asiafinancial.com.
Similar vehicles from Tesla, Nio, Li Auto and BYD cost above 200,000 yuan (RM128,945).
The asiafinancial.com report pointed out that in January and February 2022, Hozon had grew sales of its affordable, spacious SUVs more than fourfold, thus outpacing big-name competitors such as XPeng, Nio and Tesla.
Also, Hozon Auto has big-name backers such as tech giant Qihu 360 and government funds.
In December 2021, Hozon Auto became the first-ever downstream investment for Contemporary Amperex Technology Co (CATL), the world’s biggest maker of EV batteries.
However, asiafinancial.com note that Hozon Auto is mired in losses, partly due to its strategy of undercutting the competition.
Hozon Auto CEO Zhang Yong was reported as saying since its EVs are pitched at price-sensitive buyers, it will have to sell three times more cars than Nio and Tesla to turn a decent profit.
Its investors are counting on its pricing strategy to build sales and market share.
In March 2023, Neta signed a joint venture deal with Thailand's Bangchan General Assembly Co Ltd (BGAC) to build an EV assembly plant.
Located in Khan Na Yao, Bangkok, the plant will be Neta Auto's first overseas factory, and also the first plant for China EV start-ups in Thailand.
Zhang Yong said the Thailand plant will be a major base for Neta to produce and export right hand drive EVs to the Asean region.